microscope in lab

Introducing PITHIA

New research study aims to boost transplants from older deceased donors

Many potential kidney transplants are from deceased donors aged 60 years or older, but many of these kidneys are not used due to worries about how they may work. But age alone does not predict good kidney health and so many good organs may currently be discarded. PITHIA is a UK study that aims to increase the number and quality of kidney transplants from older donors.

PITHIA began on 1st October 2018 and will last for two years. All the kidney transplant centres in the UK are taking part in the trial, which will introduce a national biopsy service to assess kidneys, before transplantation, from deceased donors aged 60 years or older.

A small sample of the donor kidney’s tissue will be taken (a biopsy) so that it can be examined under a microscope. This biopsy will happen at the donor’s hospital and before the kidney is transplanted. This will allow doctors to look at each kidney in more detail and hopefully identify more good kidneys for transplantation.

Every four months, a randomly chosen group of UK kidney transplant centres will be given access to the national biopsy service. By the end of the trial, all centres will have the biopsy service, and the researchers will be able to see if it has made any difference to the number of transplants from older deceased donors.

Mr Chris Callaghan is leading PITHIA at GSTT. Chris says: “This is an important study that will address whether or not the availability of a national donor kidney histopathology service in the UK will help increase the number and quality of deceased donor kidneys transplanted from older donors. The Guy’s team support this study and will consider whether or not a kidney biopsy should be taken on an individual basis.”

For more information about PITHIA, go to: http://www.pithia.org.uk